Posts Tagged Geneva Conventions

Debate at the New America Foundation on Guantanamo for its Ninth Birthday

Yesterday was the ninth anniversary of the opening of the infamous detention center for “unlawful combatants” in the War on Terror at a U.S. Navy Base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. In order to reflect on the question of treatment of detainees in the struggle against terrorism, as well as Obama’s failure to keep his promise to close the Guantanamo detention facilities by now, the Washington D.C.-based think tank the New America Foundation organized a panel of experts to discuss these difficult and thorny issues.

Here is the NAF’s presentation of the panel:

Nine years after opening the prison at the Guantanamo Bay naval base, the United States still faces major questions and partisan rancor over the future of the prison, the fate of its 174 remaining detainees, and the proper means of trying and holding terrorism suspects detained at home and abroad. Please join the New America Foundation National Security Studies Program for an important discussion on the prison’s future, and the broader context of the state of terrorism, detention and the law today.

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Legal And Ethical Issues – What Is Wrong With Taking Photographs of Prisoners In A Conflict?

Israeli soldier posing in front of Palestinian prisoners

A shameful controversy has recently crossed over the borders of Israel and made a splash in the media worldwide: a former Israeli soldier, Eden Abergil, had posted on her Facebook page photographs of her posing with bound and blindfolded Palestinian prisoners. And to add insult to injury, Ms. Abergil does not understand what is “wrong” with her posting the pictures, claiming that she had published those pictures were taken “in good will” and that she had no idea that they would be “problematic.”

The Israeli Defense Force (IDF) has quickly reacted to what could be another PR nightmare for Israel at a time when Israel really does not need any more of those. The problem is that the Breaking the Silence group, a very interesting NGO that gathers testimony from IDF veterans, has already published many other photos of Israeli soldiers posing next to Palestinian prisoners or even corpses, claiming that such behavior is the norm, not the exception.

In a world where the media – in the larger sense – is everywhere, the question of publishing photographs and other images of conflicts and their different facets are regularly the subject of controversies. The biggest recent scandal that we have in mind when seeing these pictures is the Abu Ghraib scandal in 2004. It goes without saying that in many ways, the two don’t compare: whereas the photographs coming out of Abu Ghraib were absolutely horrifying and gruesome, Ms. Abergil’s photographs remain relatively decent. She “only” poses next to prisoners, does not appear to touch them or to taunt them, let alone abuse them sexually. The Arab media, by claiming that this was Israel’s Abu Ghraib, are largely exaggerating. Read the rest of this entry »

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